Wednesday, October 19, 2016

I Love This/I Hate This

I made a new poster for my classroom:

I'd been thinking about "Art Is" since Chicago and NAEA.  There was a presentation I went to (maybe it was a museum educator from Ohio?!) and I wrote some notes (and I thought I took pictures), neither of which I can find now.  We were given time during the session to think about what art is, and there was a hashtag. . . I really did think about it, but my hashtag skills are #nonexistent. 
My poster says: 
Art is 
All the ideas 
Rolling around in your head NOT JUST 
Technical skill (how well you draw/paint).  

I used some art images that I had that someone had given me to dress it up a bit.  I do love it, but I hate it's dual purpose:

We had active shooter training for the second time/year in a row last week and covering that little skinny window was a subject covered.  I didn't have any posters that were long enough, so I made this one.  I hate that we live in a world were things like "active shooter" and "elementary school" can go together. 
Keep your chins up, friends, we're doing good and teaching f.i.n.e. 

Friday, October 14, 2016

Tired Of This Crazy Election?

Geez-oh-pete, I'm exhausted of this election.  I. can't. even. NO MORE!  Honestly, I tried to watch the latest debate and my stomach started hurting.  I will, however, lead fifth grade through a self-portrait-as-the-president lesson with glee.

It's a pretty straight-forward self portrait drawing, color with oil pastels, and make sure there's something patriotic in the background (this is the second half of our Monarchy vs. Democracy lesson), and then we added some writing about ourselves as presidents incorporating a little math (figuring out what year it will be when they're 35 or 40 or 66, however old they want to be when they're president).  

I only have one class right now that has finished, and they did a wonderful & amazing job:

Here's an arrow I added above the kings and queens in the main hallway to get more traffic to our presidents:

And here's the first bit of completed work that's hanging in the hallway:

It's refreshing to remember that wanting to be president can be a good, kind and wholesome venture in this bizarre election year.
Enjoy your days with kids, and be happy that you don't have to be in politics if you don't want to!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

I Never Want To Lose This

I've thought a lot about the pace of my life lately: as a wife, mother and as an art teacher.  As busy working people, we've got non-stop stuff going on, and it's so easy to forget to stop and be in the moment. I'm grateful for my own little people who help me remember what a wonderful world we live in.  They were out in our backyard picking green tomatoes for one of my co-workers (because I was worried about a freeze that didn't actually happen)

And they found this guy:

Which led to a great discussion about gardening (if you don't know about tomato hornworms and these beneficial wasps, you can learn more here) and the wonders of nature and life cycles.
Cassie Stephens blogged about saying no recently, and it's something I've been thinking so much about.  What are my real goals?  What am I here to do?  I teach 7-8 classes a day.  All different levels, and I'm rushed and hurried and BUSY, but I'm here for STUDENTS.  This is the only time they have first grade art or fifth grade art or adaptive art.  This is it, there's no do-over, and I want it to be amazing and wonderful and fascinating for them (and for me, but that's a different post).
So I never want to lose that feeling of wonder and curiosity.  I want to be excited for students who share good news and make new discoveries.  If that means I don't help paint the staff bathroom or organize activities for a festival, that's perfectly okay.  I need more time to regroup and rejuvenate, and so do you.  Take that time and enjoy that time and remember your real priorities.
Art teacher on, friends, and remember that you are AWESOME.

Friday, October 7, 2016

"That" Class

As art teachers, I'm sure you're familiar with "that" class.  That one that it doesn't seem to matter what you introduce, they take to it like ducks to water and you're not really needed to teach at all, but merely to guide them just a bit.  That's one of my fourth grade classes this year.  We started our Frida Kahlo style self portraits, and here's a sampling of their first day efforts:

I'm not saying they're perfect, but COME ON, they're ten years old!  And well over half the class did so very well!  I can't wait to see how these come out!

Uggghhh PIVOT.  Darn it!!!!

I really like this one.
She looks deep in thought.
This is part of what makes teaching art the best, all the variety!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Half Person, Half Animal, All FUN

I blogged about this lesson years ago, and if you want more of the how to (and a look at the craziness my life was four years ago, click here).  Third graders are FUNNY.  And they like to BE FUNNY, so it's perfect for them!

We talk about art history all year in third grade and think about questions like "why do we have art?" and "what does art do for people?" When we get to this point of art history, about 8000 BC or so, we talk about the ancient village of Catal Huyuk.  (You can also learn more here or here)  The points I want them to remember is that Catal Huyuk was mostly built the way it was for safety, and there were drawings/paintings on the walls of the homes just like the nomadic tribes who painted on cave walls.
Here are some of the interesting ones from this year:

There were a lot of half horses and half fish this year.  I love that they have to work TOGETHER and do some problem solving.  I wish I would've had students do some writing about them, because their writing adds an element of kid-truth that you can't dispute.
Enjoy your day, art teacher friends!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Three and a Half Weeks Until Parent/Teacher Conferences!

I just love Parent/Teacher Conference time! Now don't misunderstand, I don't have loads of conferences, not too many come to see me (although I'm happy to see them when they do), but it IS a great time to showcase some amazing student work!  I've held back these beauties (I call them "It's Great to be King"):

It's similar to this lesson, except we used a bit of technology (thanks to student chrome books and Schoology) to add some selfies to truly be royalty. We added a bit of writing to explain the items we were holding and our overall look.

My original plan was to hang all three fifth grade classes of Royal Portraits by the front office, but now I'm torn.  Second grade made some pretty amazing self portraits--

We started working on frames for them today.
Sometimes CHOOSING is the hardest part.  Amazing Royalty Portraits?

Or amazing self portrait paintings by the front office?

Decisions, decisions!

Friday, September 16, 2016

Another Trip To Market To Market

Several years ago I wrote about this same lesson and I hadn't done that (this?) lesson since.  The book is so fun and rhyme-y and sing-songy that I really wanted to do it again.  First we read To Market To Market by Anne Miranda and drew a practice stack of animals in our sketchbooks.  

I bought this hard-backed copy on Amazon for a RIDICULOUSLY low price.

Next we printed our shopping carts.  This year I used old lamination (the extra part when something is laminated) taped to some random paper I had left over (I wrote their name on the lamination in Sharpie) and we used black acrylic paint to do the printing:

I ordered strawberry baskets on Ebay to print with.

Imagine a name written in Sharpie--this is one of my extras.
Students drew their stores with pencil and then traced in Sharpie:

I also gave each student a piece of paper to draw their animal stack on.  The paper was the right size to fit in their cart (assuming they drew a vertical stack of animals).  I believe (this is the moment where I leave my computer and go searching for the paper to measure) it was 12" x 4".  Students were encouraged to draw a "silly stack" of animals.  They drew with pencil, traced with extra-fine Sharpie and colored their animals with Crayola color sticks. 

When they were all colored, students cut out their animals, all in one continuous stack.
I then used my new Cool Shot hot glue gun to their animals into their carts:

Students then glued their animals (now in their carts) to their stores and wrote their own to-market-to-market on a small paper I gave them.  I just printed a few lines and a clip art of a shopping cart on paper (last time they did the writing in their classrooms but it took FOREVER and I'm not in a taking-forever sort of mood).

Oh, the frustration of not being able to rotate these pictures.
You have no idea of the time I've wasted trying to ROTATE.
Picture Ross screaming "PIVOT!!! PIVOT!!!!" on that stairwell on Friends,
and that's pretty much me right now.
And a few final shots of them hanging in the hall (though I'm not super happy with how they photographed--too much white):

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